Representative Steve Southerland Visits Panhandle Hospitals

By: Bergen Baucom Email
By: Bergen Baucom Email

Bonifay- Five years ago, Doctors Memorial Hospital in Bonifay launched a new era in health care, openings a new 48,000 square feet facility, double the size of the old hospital. But, the road to that new facility was long and difficult.

"We started off trying to get approval from the government" explained Doctors Memorial Board Chairman, Joe Sowell. "We had to get a referendum with Holmes County and we got it. And it passed with about 80 percent."

But Sowell was worried looming federal budget cuts would derail the community's hard work. "I'm afraid it's going to be very negative" he said. "Don't know all the consequences of it yet, but few little things I have saw, it has more of a negative impact than a positive."

Hospital administrator Joann Baker shared Sowell's concern for the uncertain future.

"We're still unsure of what's going to happen at Congress, how it's going to effect the rural hospitals. But, I would love for them to keep in mind that each community does need their hospital" Baker told us.

Congressman Steve Southerland said he was interested in knowing what Doctor's Memorial Hospital needed. He toured the facility Monday and updated administrators about what was going on in Washington.

"There's some [hospital] programs that probably need to be phased out, and then probably some that need to be built up a little better" Southerland said. "So I'm eager to talk to administrators this morning about some of the health care challenges they face."

For now, administrators said they would continue to treat their patients, and hope for the best.

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